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App Development
8 minutes read

iOS App Design Inspiration: How to Make Your App Stand Out

by Diego Coronado
App Development
8 minutes read

iOS app inspiration isn’t something that happens overnight. If you’ve been thinking about creating an app for iOS devices, you probably know this. By now, you’re probably wondering how you can make your app stand out from the millions of other applications that are already on the market and, moreover, how to even get your app on the market. There are a few things you can do to give your application the best possible chance at becoming viral. 

Every single detail of your app plays a role in determining how successful it will be. An iOS application should be carefully crafted, right down to the choice of color palette, fonts, home screen, navigation menu, and User Interface (UI) elements. All of these elements should work seamlessly together in order for your app to offer the best possible User Experience (UX). However, as experienced app developers, we understand that the process of figuring out all these details and how to ensure they mesh well together isn’t the easiest of tasks.

In this post, we’ll share some of our top iOS app design inspiration strategies to help you build an iOS application that both stands out from your competitors and grabs the attention of your target audience.  

Do Your Research

If you want your app to stand out, the first thing you should do is research competitors and trending apps so you can gain an idea of what’s hot and what’s not. While you don’t want to mimic another company’s app theme, the most popular apps tend to share similarities in their features and design elements, like rich and harmonious color schemes, stylish but not overly intricate fonts, and a sleek logo that accurately represents both the brand and the product. 

Choose Your Color Palette Carefully 

All of your design elements should work seamlessly together to evoke a very specific emotional reaction in your prospective users about your brand. It all starts with your color palette. Deep colors like red and black convey to the user that your brand is bold, edgy, and confident. Meanwhile, colors like green and blue convey a sense of peace and comfort and are great choices for financial and wellness apps. The colors you choose should match the tone you want to set about your brand. 

Ensure Your App Icon Grabs the User’s Attention 

Remember, first impressions are everything, and the first thing that people notice about your app is its icon. Your icon is a symbol for your brand, so the design should be unique, bold, and scream “download me”. Basically, it should capture the user’s attention immediately.  

Now, there are several ways to go about creating your icon; there’s definitely no one-size-fits-all approach. You can choose to display your existing company logo or come up with an entirely new concept. The possibilities are endless.

Many popular apps, like Uber, Etsy, and eBay, include their full company name in their icon. Others, such as Skype, Venmo, and NerdWallet, feature the first letter of their company’s name. Then there are apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify that use a symbol to represent their brand. If you opt for a symbol, make sure it’s an original design as opposed to a stock image. 

The important thing to remember is that the icon represents your brand and the app itself. You can be as creative as you want to be, but you should always stick with something that is relevant to your business. For example, if you’re creating a FinTech app, your icon shouldn’t feature a camera or musical note. 

Consistency Is Key: Don’t Disappoint Users with Your Actual App Design

Think of your icon as wrapping paper for your app. You don’t want to dazzle a user with your phenomenal gift wrapping skills only to disappoint them with what’s actually inside the package when they download your app, do you? Your app should have the same “wow factor” as your icon — if not better — and carry over the same design elements you used in your icon, like your color palette and font choices. Your app design works only if it’s consistent and continually excites users. 

Be Mindful of Your Target Audience

Whether you’ve already come up with a few app concepts or are struggling with iOS app design inspiration, it’s important to consider what your target audience is looking for in terms of benefits or solutions. Try to put yourself in their shoes. What are their pain points? Will they enjoy a flashier app or something simple? These are all crucial questions to ask as you conceptualize your app’s features and functionalities. Regardless of the actual app concept, your main goal should be ensuring that your target audience will find the application relevant.  

Product Design: Offer Something New

A successful app isn’t necessarily one that reinvents the wheel, but it certainly brings something new to the table. The concept can be something as simple as an app that pulls in calendars from different user accounts or one that manages finances, however, it should offer users a solution to a need in a way that they haven’t seen before. Creativity is key when it comes to product design, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box when building your app. 

Understand the Platform You’re Building For

iOS and Android apps are not created equally. Each platform has its own set of rules and restrictions that must be taken into consideration. For example, iOS does not support either Flash or Java. If you want to incorporate animations or robust graphics into your iOS app, consider using HTML5, which is compatible with iOS smart devices. As far as programming languages, iOS apps are built using Objective-C or the more modern Swift instead of Java. Swift is currently the preferred programming language for iOS (and our personal preference). Coding with Swift is much faster than with Java. This is a plus since apps can be built quicker because developers don’t have to write as much code (approximately 40% less code). 

However, iOS is a closed platform while Android is open-source, meaning that the iOS code is not shared publicly and developers will need an iOS Software Development Kit (SDK). Because of the proprietary nature of native iOS apps, new applications will have to undergo rigorous checks and must abide by Apple’s rules and regulations. The process of getting an app approved by Apple generally takes longer than for Android apps, which is something to also keep in mind. 

Furthermore, iOS devices come in a wide variety of screen sizes, so it’s important to ensure your app’s content and graphics fit within these parameters. iOS UI elements are also built for touch gestures, which allow users to interact with an app in an easier and more natural manner.  When building for iOS, make sure your control points measure at minimum 44pt x 44pt to prevent crowding and so iOS users can tap them without accidentally hitting other buttons. Text size should be a minimum of 11pt so users can easily view the text without having to zoom in. As far as images are concerned, iOS image assets should always be at the high-resolution. Include only @2x or @3x images so they don’t look blurry on the Retina display. 

Pick a Catchy Name

Your app’s name should be unique while at the same time resonating with your brand and attracting your target audience. The Apple App Store limits app names to 50 characters, so it’s important to choose wisely. Start by thinking about the features your app will offer and the solutions it will provide. It’s ok to get creative and witty. In fact, the more your app’s name differs from other apps that may even offer similar functionalities, the more attention it will draw. 

Also, don’t be afraid to incorporate popular or trending terms into your app’s name. Take some time to research the keywords that are relevant to your app and what your audience is searching for and try to weave some of those terms into the name. That being said, keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your app’s success. It’s all about finding the right balance between a trending term and what sounds natural. Save the additional keywords and phrases for your app’s description and SEO title fields. 

iOS App Design Inspiration: The Takeaway

If you want to build an iOS app, it’s important to consider the unique nature of the iOS platform as well as the needs of your users. The more you adhere to Apple’s app design standards and the needs of your target audience, the better the chances of your app becoming successful.

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